Balcony Tomatoes Gardening: Tips for Growing Fresh and Flavorful Tomatoes in Small Spaces
The balcony you have, despite living in a high-rise, is a luxury you intend to take full advantage of. Tomatoes! You will grow your own, that is correct. Where to begin, though. On a balcony, how do you grow tomatoes? Tomatoes are extremely simple to grow.In addition to their flavour and culinary applications, tomatoes can also be grown as a balcony ornamental plant. The fruits are round or pear-shaped, and they come in a variety of sizes and hues, including red, orange, brown, and yellow. Its leaves also have an excellent sour aroma. This post will walk you through every stage of growing balcony tomatoes.
Before You Plant Balcony Tomatoes
1.Find the Sunny Spot
Tomato plants necessitate exposure to full sunlight for a minimum of 6 to 8 hours daily, preferably between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.Position your pots in a location that receives uninterrupted sunshine throughout the day, and if there are changes in conditions during the growing season, consider relocating the pots to ensure the plants receive sufficient sun exposure.
Warm weather is optimal for the growth of tomato plants. If the temperature falls below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, bring the balcony tomatoes indoors or provide adequate protection to avoid exposure to the cold. Conversely, if the temperature rises above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the plant may halt its production of flowers and fruits.
2.Choose the Right Container
Using small containers for growing tomatoes is a common mistake that beginners make. Small spaces restrict roots, affecting growth rate and production. To avoid this, use bigger containers with a diameter of at least 18 inches and a depth of around 24 inches. These containers won’t fall over and hold more soil, water, and nutrients. Ensure the pots have enough drainage holes. Avoid using metal, glass, and black plastic containers as they become hot in the sun.
3. Prepare Right Potting Mix
Tomatoes require rich, well-prepared soil to thrive. Avoid using garden soil from your growing areas alone as it’s often over compacted, which affects water infiltration and drainage rates. This soil is also susceptible to disease-causing organisms that can persist for extended periods.
Creating high-quality potting mix is simple, or you can opt for ready-made potting mix that comes with fertilizer or slow-release nutrients. To manufacture potting soil, use a combination of compost materials, peat moss, perlite, and light soil. Add a slow-release fertilizer to the soil before transplanting the balcony tomatoes.
It’s important not to overlook the pH levels in the soil. The ideal pH for tomato plants is slightly acidic, ranging from 6.0 to 6.8. If you prefer sweeter tomatoes, raise the pH to 7.5 after they start to ripen.
To adjust the pH level of soil for balcony tomatoes, add wood ash or dolomite lime if the soil is too acidic. If the soil is alkaline, lower the pH level by adding sulfur or an ammonium sulfate fertilizer. Check with your local garden supply store for further guidance.
The good news is that all tomato types are suitable for container gardening; nevertheless, there are certain restrictions, such as not being able to grow tomato varieties that spread and grow too tall (indeterminate ones) on your balcony (don’t blame us if we think balconies are little). The best option is to select determinate tomato cultivars that are locally available and successfully grown.
For example, cherry tomatoes are extremely easy to cultivate, require little care, and produce a large number of fruits during the growing season. Furthermore, there are other alternative options. Visit a seed store, a nursery near you, or order online!
Planting Balcony Tomatoes
After the tomato plants have two true leaves, you can start transplanting them. When planting the seedlings, ensure that the holes cover the plant all the way to the first leaf. That is almost two-thirds of the stem.
The deeper the roots grow, the faster they absorb nutrients. Additional nutrients help your tomato plants grow faster. Do not put many seedlings in the same container. If you have a larger tomato planter, space the plants one inch apart.
Putting one plant per container ensures that the tomato does not compete for water, nutrients, or space. Plants grow quicker and healthier when there is less competition.
Watering after Planting
- Water the seedlings thoroughly and leave them for an hour before transplantation.
- After excavating the holes, fill them with water. Planting can begin as soon as the water has been absorbed by the soil.
- Water the plants again, ideally within 15 minutes of transplanting. It alleviates the transplant shock. However, avoid making the soil wet or saturated.
- When the plants are established, you should check on them at least once a day for the first 2-3 weeks.
Many environmental factors influence how frequently you water your plants, including tomato container size, potting soil, humidity, wind, and heat.
Care of Balcony Tomatoes after Planting
- Water plants in the morning to keep them hydrated throughout the day and to allow damp leaves to dry during the day.
- Water the soil directly and avoid getting water on the foliage, which can encourage blight and fungus.
- To avoid root rot, the soil should be moist but not waterlogged.
- Plants may need to be watered twice a day during hot summer days or hot and windy days.
- If a tomato plant receives insufficient water, it may wilt and weaken, and the tomatoes may develop blossom end rot or crack or split.
- Tomatoes are voracious feeders, and container-grown tomatoes need to be fed every two weeks.
- Feed your plants the essential nutrients they require: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
- Tomatoes planted in pots require constant feeding during the growing season, up to twice monthly depending on the potting mix used.
- Watering is the best time to apply a balanced NPK fertilizer, such as 5-5-5 or 5-10-5.
- Some potting soils already contain fertilizers, so check the soil bag to see if these necessary nutrients are present before applying fertilizer to balcony tomatoes.
A support system will assist both determinate and indeterminate container tomato plants. Structure is required for indeterminate tomato plants to support the vining activity and fruit weight. While planting each tomato, apply the support system to the container. Waiting until the plant is larger may cause the growing roots to be disturbed. If you’re growing container tomatoes in the garden, you can insert the cage into the soil outside of the pot.
For determinate tomato varieties, use a standard tomato cage or stakes. Select a cage that is between 15 and 20 inches high and 10 inches wide. Choose a cage that is at least 38 inches high and 14 inches wide for larger breeds of balcony tomatoes.
To elevate and tie off the stems of indeterminate plants, you can create supports or buy cages. Because indeterminate plants grow so big, use a cage that is at least 38 inches tall and 14 inches wide.
As the tomato plant grows, tie the stems to the support using twine, plant ribbon, or plant wire.
4. Add a Layer of Mulch
- When it comes to mulching, you have a lot of options. Organic mulch materials like hay, grain straw, wood shavings, crushed bark, and fallen leaves are popular among gardeners.
- Mulch retains moisture in the soil, prevents wet soil from spilling onto the leaves, and keeps the lowest growing fruits from rotting when they rest on the ground.
- Plants should not be mulched until they are established.
(Also Read- Basics of Tomato Plant Maintenance)
The growing rate and timing of each tomato type varies just a little. Most begin to bear fruit in 60 to 100 days. Tomatoes can be picked before they are fully ripe and left to ripen off the plant, but leaving them to mature on the plant will result in the finest flavour.Growing wonderfully ripe, juicy balcony tomatoes doesn’t require a vast garden space. You can plant and grow any tomato variety, from tiny grape tomatoes to huge slicing tomato kinds, on your deck, patio, or balcony with a few large containers, sunlight, fertiliser, and water.Here were some easy to follow tips for growing tasty tomatoes effectively in pots and improving your harvest. If you want to learn more about balcony gardening we have got plenty of Tips. Don’t forget to check out Tips for starting a Balcony Garden & Best Sunny Balcony Plants.